Air Serbia plans to renew turboprop fleet


Air Serbia intends on adding newer generation turboprop aircraft to its fleet next year with several frames set to join. However, as EX-YU Aviation News learns, their arrival will be heavily dependant on market conditions with fears the new omicron variant of the coronavirus could derail air traffic recovery in 2022. At this point, the airline is considering adding up to five aircraft. They would enable the carrier to strengthen its regional operations and improve passenger experience and comfort. Air Serbia had initially intended to renew its turboprop fleet last year but was forced to cancel such plans as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Air Serbia’s regional fleet currently consists of five turboprops, including three ATR72-200s, all of which are 31 years old, and two ATR72-500s, which are 23 and 24 years old respectively. All are being utilised by the carrier and are active within the fleet. The airline returned one of the -500 versions to its owner last year, after deciding not to renew its lease. It was the youngest among the ATRs at fifteen years. Late last year, the Serbian Minister for Finance, Siniša Mali, said the country’s national airline would retire older and noisier aircraft, as well as those producing greater gas emissions.

In recent months, Air Serbia has added frequencies on a number of routes operated exclusively by ATR aircraft, including those to Prague, Zagreb, Ljubljana and several others. It is also expected to use the aircraft on flights deemed to be of public interest from Kraljevo to Istanbul, Thessaloniki and Tivat, as well as between Niš and Belgrade. The airline is widely tipped to be selected as the operating carrier for the new routes at a tender which closed late last week. Air Serbia has also earmarked future expansion in the region with potential new routes to Romania and Bulgaria once market conditions permit.



Comments

  1. Anonymous09:02

    Hopefully Covid won't derail plans this time around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:09

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:33

      Unfortunately I think it may. Lots of airlines today revising and downgrading schedules for next spring.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:34

      It's purely speculative. Things change so fast that no one can really know what is going to happen tomorrow. What we do know is that 50% of Air Serbia's ATRs next year will turn 32. Those old girls are not getting any younger, with or without Covid.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:02

    This was expected considering the new routes they have planned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:32

      Fleet renewal is part of the restructuring program they have devised which unlocks state aid. So fleet renewal will definitely happen.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:03

    Would they add these planes in addition to the ones they have or completely replace them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:08

      The first three ATR'S 72-200 must be replaced. As long as the time goes by they're becoming more uneconomic

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:14

      True. The older the plane is, the more expensive it is to operate it.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:22

      Remember the three Atr72s are owned by JU. So no leasing costs.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:04

    Makes sense sticking with the ATR then introducing a different aircraft type altogether.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:09

      There's no reason to swap ATRs for any other than new generation ATR 72-600. Even leased ATR 72-500 will do the job perfectly.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:10

      * than introducing a different aircraft type.
      Big difference between then, and than.

      REPLY

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:05

    More ATRs are needed badly for routes like SJJ,TGD,ZAG,LJU,SKP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:11

      Also Banja Luka,Sofia,Bucharest

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:40

      I don't think there is a lack of ATRs at the moment for any of these routes. There will be eventually when they start the PSO routes, which I assume is the reason they will be adding more planes.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:08

    This is like their fifth announcement regarding the ATR fleet renewal. It's becoming a joke by now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:37

      It's all part of their strategic planning.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:40

      And where did they make an announcement? The article clearly states it is what they have learned not what the airline said.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:45

      Since the era of Dane Kondic, JU has made comments regarding their fleet renewal. Even Mali went on record saying they were planning on doing it. Then they spoke of the ATRs then of the Embraers, then they flirted with the A220 and then they even mentioned the SSJ. In the end nothing became of these plans and that was about it.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:49

      So again you got a lot of things wrong. Mali is not Air Serbia. He is the Minister of Finance so his comments are not "their fifth announcement regarding the ATR fleet renewal".

      When did they speak of the ATRs? When did they speak of the Embraers? You got confused by Embraer making comments about wanting to sell planes to Air Serbia, not the other way around. They flirted with A220? When? Can you provide a source or a link? "They" never mentioned SSJ. In fact on every article I read here about SSJ pitching their plane to Air Serbia it clearly stated "The airline has made no comment on the potential acquisition of the aircraft.

      So it seems you are quite confused.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:00

      Hahaha, Mali is Air Serbia, from day one.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:04

      So basically, you made things up. Thanks for clearing that up. No, Mali is not Air Serbia.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous10:10

      JU is government owned and they directly respond to the ministry of finance where Mali is the minister. He was also part of their board while mayor so he was very active since day one.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous10:12

      I'm still waiting for the links to where, how you say, they flirted with A220, where they said they were going to get Embraers and where they said they were getting SSJs as you claim.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous12:52

      Anonymous10:10
      JU is government owned and they directly respond to the ministry of finance where Mali is the minister.

      No, that is not the case. As a company, they are related to the Ministry of economy and Mrs. Atanasković.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:11

    ATR-72-600 will be perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:14

      Not perfect, but close to it. It's probably the best solution at the moment given the financial state of JU.

      However it still won't be able to fill the gap where half empty 319 flies.. Because of range and time penalty of Atr

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:13

    Are the ATRs serviced in BEG?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:13

      I mean is maintenance done in BEG?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:15

      Yes it is

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:21

    Easiest and cheapest option is just to replace the 3 oldest ATRs with newer ones and that is it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous09:25

    Less talk - more action please.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous09:25

    So even more subsidies!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous09:25

    An insider story goes that JU purchased (yes, purchased) three ATRs 72-600 and leased another two.

    We'll see if the story holds ground soon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:30

      wow that would be amazing.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:31

      And who paid for those?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:31

      Where did they get the money?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:34

      Probably government or they could have gotten a loan. I mean government has purchased brand new Airbus helicopters so why not buy planes for Air Serbia?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:36

      Well the random recent Embraer pitch to Air Serbia a few weeks ago could indicate that this is true and that they did acquire planes from ATR (and Embraer was hoping to get the order instead).

      Delete
  13. Anonymous09:26

    They really need to replace these aircraft ASAP. While it could be expensive replacing them, I think keeping these 30 year old dinosaurs in the fleet will become more and more costly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:30

      True. They are breaking down more often.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:02

      Just went with YU-ALO last week - quite a fair experience, as it had only 20-30 passengers per flight. When it is crowded, the experience is really bad.

      Delete
  14. Anonymous09:26

    Hope it comes sooner rather than later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:57

      Would make sense that they start getting them in summer.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous09:33

    good. hope they replace them soon.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous09:52

    In my opinion, a mix of turbo props and regional jets would make most sense for JU, as if it would them to achieve good financial returns on short routes and yet open new routes that are uncomfortable on a turbo prop yet beneficial for longer flights covered by the Airbus fleet.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous09:58

    How much do brand new ATRs cost? The ATR72-600?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:14

      These things change and vary based on numerous things but the -600 list price is $26.8M

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:25

      Actually not as expensive as I thought. If you order a couple you will definitely get a discount.

      Delete
    3. Since the Q400 pause, ATR doesn't discount its 72 anymore...

      Delete
    4. Anonymous14:39

      In times like these, there is a surplus of fairly new second hand ATRs available to lease, so that's an alternative to ordering new from the manufacturer if their prices aren't good enough.

      I just looked at the fleet page for one of the major lessors, Nordic Aviation Capital, on Planespotters.net and there are plenty of ~5-year-old aircraft waiting to be leased, plus of course more from other lessors.

      Delete
  18. Anonymous09:59

    What is the main difference between ATR72-500 and ATR72-600. Anyone know?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:10

      Better avionics, more glass cockpit, quitter. Overall, better experience for crew and passengers.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:10

      The 600 version has a glass cockpit and complete redesign of cabin.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:15

      ATR 72-600 also has a high density seating option by optimizing the pitch and adjusting the forward cargo compartment, bringing the aircraft maximum capacity from 74 to 78 seats.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:18

      wow 78 seat ATR72. That's more than the Dash! I had no idea this existed.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:18

      I wonder if Air Serbia would go for this high density option if they for the -600 version.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:25

      Hope not. What is the usual configuration legacies have on this plane?

      Delete
    7. Anonymous10:26

      ^ Same as current ATRs.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous10:26

      Air New Zealand has 29 ATR72-600s in the fleet and they all have 68 seats.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous10:30

      The high density version is achieved by basically getting rid of much of the cargo hold (which on the ATR is in the forward part of the cabin). So this option is used by few airlines and makes sense only for LCCs (and there are few LCCs with turboprops). For example Cebu Pacific uses the 78 seat ATR72-600.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous10:31

      Or I should be more precise and say Cebgo, their regional subsidiary.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous10:33

      Interesting. Thank you!

      Delete
    12. Anonymous10:35

      What Air Serbia can and should do is put slimline seats in the ATRs. It will improve pitch and comfort. I would also recommend making them non reclinable on such a small plane.

      Delete
    13. Anonymous10:39

      They didn't put slim seats when they installed them on the Airbuses?

      Delete
    14. Anonymous10:41

      Nope

      Delete
    15. Anonymous10:42

      The only change that has been made to the ATR planes since Air Serbia was launched in 2013 was that they reupholstered them with new blue leather seats.

      Delete
    16. Anonymous10:42

      Oh and these no longer match the color of the slim seats used in the Airbuses. The ATR ones are bright blue like they used to be on the Airbuses until 2016 or 2017 when they put on the new seats and took out the dedicated business class cabin.

      Delete
    17. Anonymous10:44

      Ah speaking of ATRs and seating, I still remember when JAT (and even Jat Airways for that matter) had a business class section on the ATRs. The last two rows (because they were close to the exit a further from the noisy props). They also used to get dedicated meal as in full catering. Jat Airways discontinued in 2009 I believe when the financial crisis hit the industry.

      Delete
    18. Anonymous10:47

      That's actually a great idea and something they could do even today. Sell the seats at a higher business class price. Someone might actually purchase it especially transfer passengers that come from a flight with the A319 or transfers flying business from the US on the A330. You have nothing to loose. At the same time you can sell seats as economy and allow them to be filled by economy if the flight is full. They would just have to have probably one business class meal per sector loaded on the plane. I think they could make good money from it.

      Delete
    19. Anonymous10:54

      +1

      Delete
    20. Anonymous10:57

      What kind of business class are you talking about? With exception to NY service JU doesn't really offer any business class experience on intra Europe flights so stop dreaming!

      Delete
    21. Anonymous10:58

      They are selling those last two rows as a priority boarding seats

      Delete
    22. Anonymous11:03

      First of all you can tone down your anger and second of all you obviously never flown with business class.

      Yes, Air Serbia does offer business class. The euro business class has the same economy seat with the one in the middle blocked. This model is used by almost every single airline in Europe that offers business class (Turkish and Aeroflot being the only exceptions though Turkish has euro business on many inter European routes as well). Passengers get a complimentary meal, unlimited complimentary drinks, fast track at the airport, free check in luggage and airport lounge. That is part of your business class experience in Europe. Unlike majority of other European airlines, Air Serbia also offers a menu in business class and a selection between meals. For example in Lufthansa you get neither an option or different meal types on inter European flights.

      As I said, Jat Airways used to have a business class section on ATR, last two rows, same seats as economy (no divider) but you got a meal and got out of the plane quicker and got the baggage benefits. It could be a good idea to do the same now because someone is bound to pay for it and would provide good revenue to the airline with almost no added expenditure.

      Delete
    23. Anonymous11:07

      You don't even have to load any additional catering, just offer them a complimentary drink and complimentary sandwich from the Elevate Deli, which they load on the plane anyway to sell to passengers.

      Delete
    24. Anonymous11:12

      Many passengers from Russia who were flying business to Tivat (from Moscow via Belgrade) this summer with JU would use this option probably. Many would do it automatically not even noticing they were on the ATR at the time of booking but airline can charge more.

      Delete
  19. Anonymous10:18

    Until when do the leases for the ATR72-500 last?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:20

      I doubt anyone other than Air Serbia and the lessor can now until when did they sign the leasing agreement :)

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:47

      Are all of the -500s on lease?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:54

      Yes

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:54

      I think from Nordic Aviation Capital. Not 100% sure though.

      Delete
  20. Anonymous10:20

    So what would be the next registration for any additional ATR? YU-ALW, YU-ALX, YU-ALY?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:05

      registrations used by JU ATRs so far

      ATR72-200
      YU-ALR, YU-ALP, YU-ALO, YU-ALN,

      ATR72-500
      YU-ALT, YU-ALU, YU-ALV

      ATR42
      YU-ALK, YU-ALL, YU-ALM

      Not sure if I missed any.

      Delete
    2. Avionlet13:49

      @Anon 11:05
      You forgot YU-ALS an atr 72-200

      Delete
    3. Avionlet13:55

      Another interesting fact is that YU-ALK flew for 8 different airlines after JU and now is a escape room called "flight 338" in London.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous15:15

      Interesting fact, thanks for sharing

      Delete
  21. Anonymous10:52

    In addition to more modern ATR's they need to get rid of 75% of A319 and replace those by A220 or Embraer planes while adding 1-2 additional A320 (for charter and heavy pax traffic routes).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prepelica12:10

      OK, if you say so......

      Delete
  22. Anonymous12:40

    JU needs to create respectable fleet of ATR's with a mix of several 72's and 42 version if they want to become a real leader in this part of region. Than to start flying double daily to the main airports (Skopje,Tirana, Sofia, Buchurest, Zagreb, LJubljana, Budapest, Sarajevo....) of the region and daily to secondary destinations like Cluj, Varna, Kishinev, Debrecen, Odessa, Corfu, Kavala, Ohrid, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar... In that way they feed it's western and east network and become competitive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:12

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:53

      +1000

      Delete
    3. Anonymous16:05

      Lviv and Krakow also.

      Delete
    4. JATBEGMEL01:08

      JU started flying 17 pw when JP went bankrupt. Had the pandemic not happened, I'm sure it would of been boosted again.

      ZAG started as 14 weekly, which dropped to 9. In 2019 it was 11 pw.

      TIA started at 3 pw in 2014, daily in 2015, and has remained 9 pw the past couple of summers. When JP went bankrupt it was brought to 11 pw. A319 mostly replaced the ATR's the past summer.

      BUD was tipped to return in 2020 but didn't make the final list. Personally, I don't think JU is big enough for BUD, while driving by car/combi between the 2 cities is quicker and alot cheaper.

      DBV was daily in 2019 while SPU at 6 pw. RJK with subsidies wasn't able to last as a year round route and was downgraded into seasonal.

      SKP was double daily until around 2017.

      KIV and LWO were supposed to start in 2020 but the pandemic canceled their launch.

      SJJ isn't open 24/7, while JU doesn't have enough ATR's to boost the route. It's a shame they haven't worked in boosting the route, however tickets are not cheap on the route which deters alot of the O&D traffic.

      JFK destroyed their finances together with a bad business model, which saw alot of cuts throughout their network as restructuring was needed. Seasonal VAR and OHD was canceled, ZAG, SKP, SOF and OTP downgraded. 2019 was when frequencies started to return as finances stabilised and the new business model was settling in.

      As for the ATR42, whats the point of it when the ATR72 does everything it can do? Its better for them to work on better pricing and marketing to fill their aircraft, not invest in smaller aircraft.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous12:55

    During this crazy for Airbus month with all those massive orders, JU should've taken a chance on the A220. This will be a very important player in the market during the upcoming decade or so.
    JU can easily launch DEL or ZNZ for instance.
    The other pending option is the Sukhoi jet, where we clearly see improved safety and handling performance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:40

      Can the A220 easily fly direct to DEL or ZNZ?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:58

      Yes, because both destinations are less than 3400nm from/to BEG.

      Delete
    3. JATBEGMEL00:32

      Nobody denies that SSJ is a safe aircraft, it's maintenance that is the problem. No point taking an aircraft that will eventually end up in front of the hangars because they can't obtain spare parts for them.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous14:09

    From what I understand Air Serbia is missing a plane between ATR 72 and Airbus A319, would it be interesting to add the Airbus A318 to its fleet ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:12

      Not at all.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous14:46

      Why ? Is it more interesting to add Embraers (it would add a new aircraft family in the fleet)

      Delete
    3. Anonymous15:09

      Because it's a dead plane.

      Delete
    4. JATBEGMEL00:34

      Haha got to love these comments. It's now A318's that JU should get. Waiting for someone to ask about reactivate the Caravelle parked in front of the museum the way this is going.

      Delete
  25. Matt Shatt Tampa FL18:42

    After reading the whole kit and caboodle of comments about everything from SSJ, A220 and E2 it seems the drama is boiling down to only two options, ATR72-500 or -600. And the actual date those planes will enter the fleet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pero Ždero, Novi Sad Vojvodina20:28

      You just about summed it up bro.

      Delete
  26. Kažu da su ta tri starija Atr mnogo pouzdanija od novijih, manje se kvare.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous20:29

      Ko to kaže miki?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous08:57

      hearsay

      Delete
  27. Anonymous21:07

    Time to try the Bombardier Q400.

    ReplyDelete

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